Slick bricks give citizens the slip

January 15, 1998

Slick bricks give citizens the slip


Staff Writer

There was a lot of slipping and sliding on Hagerstown's renovated Public Square Thursday.

Freezing rain and sleet glazed the bricks, newly installed as part of a $455,000 renovation to the square, and efforts to get rid of the ice had only a temporary effect, officials said.

Public works crews had spread a salt mixture on the bricks six times by 4 p.m. but the area was still slippery, said Dale Poffenberger, street supervisor.


"It's a lot worse than other areas," Poffenberger said.

Crews were told to pour salt on the area every hour to fight the freezing rain, he said.

City officials said they didn't know of any serious injuries caused by the slippery square, where installation of about $10,000 worth of new bricks is almost complete, said City Engineer Bruce Johnston.

Johnston said the ice on the bricks would melt, but would refreeze when precipitation resumed.

The bricks didn't pose any problems during earlier rains, but Thursday's winter storm dropped ice on them for the first time, Johnston said.

"It's just freezing a lot and I don't know exactly why," he said.

"We're going to have to deal with it," Johnston said. The solution might be to use a different chemical, he said.

Poffenberger said crews were using a special salt mix that would discolor the red bricks.

Johnston said the distributor, Redland Brick Inc. in Williamsport, told him the wire-cut bricks would provide the best resistance to slippage.

Redland officials could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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